My Back Pages – Six from the Vault – Volume 8

I’ve been blogging now since late 2015. I’ve posted quite a few songs, some of them pretty good. Since they tend to get lost in the shuffle as the years roll by, I like to go into the vault sometimes, dust them off and bring them out for a spin….

I wrote about the Layla album very early on. Not much to say about his album other than that it is one of the greatest two-guitar, blues-driven albums you will ever hear. Guitar-driven rock hasn’t been the rage for some time now but for me, it is the air I breathe.

First up, the classic “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?” Pretty much all the insanely fast playing you hear more clearly (including the intro) is by Duane. Later on they solo together but it’s still pretty much Duane’s show. The song is in a minor key but switches to major for the chorus:

I wrote about the band Blodwyn Pig a while back, specifically their classic album A Head Rings Out. Guitarist Mick Abrahams left Jethro Tull as, like Eric Clapton, he wanted more of a pure blues sound while Ian Anderson wanted to move on. This is nothing short of a great blues-rock album and “It’s Only Love” swings like mad:

My wife and I share a love for the music of Caribbean singer/songwriter Joan Armatrading. Hers is the kind of music you cannot find on the radio anymore but was fairly prevalent back when radio did not suck. She has a totally unique sound and style and we were fortunate to have seen her once or twice a few years back in a small outdoor venue. Not sure if she tours anymore.

As I said in my original post, “Down to Zero” is a song, I think, about a woman stealing another woman’s man. It is, like so much of her music, uncategorizable but at the same time, familiar:

You probably know that Manfred Mann was part of the original British Invasion. What you may not know is that sometime in the early 70s they shifted over to a prog style and sound. A while back I wrote about their classic 1973 opus, Solar Fire. It’s an album I feel the need to spin every now and again.

This is called “In the Beginning Darkness” and you may want to get high first.

Weather Report is a band that I must have seen 5 or 6 times. This was back in the ’70s, the heyday of fusion. A stellar band that never failed to release great stuff. A high water mark for them was the 1977 album Heavy Weather. But if I’m true to the vault concept, I’ll play the version from their live album 8:30.

“How about some fucking blues?” you cry. Yes, indeed. One of my favorite SRV tunes from that vault is “Empty Arms,” with a lick I’ve been learning to play. For all those people who say blues is boring, this is the tune for you:

13 thoughts on “My Back Pages – Six from the Vault – Volume 8

  1. All great picks, Jim. Duane Allman was just a killer guitarist. One can only imagine what else he would have done, had he not lost his life at such a young age. That Blodwyn Pig tune is also right up my alley, as is Stevie Ray Vaughan – I can listen to him anytime and be amazed!

    Also nice to include an early tune by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band. I’m most familiar with their “Watch” and “Angel Station” albums. Weather Report and jazz fusion are a more recent “discovery” for me – fantastic band!

    But the tune I’m most intrigued about is “Down to Zero” – I had not heard the name Joan Armatrading in ages. I love that song! It’s also a good reminder to explore her music, which I really haven’t done!


    1. “Solar Fire” and the Blodwyn Pig albums are well worth a spin. I did a couple of posts a while back on Weather Report. And yes, give Armatrading some quality listening time when you get a chance.

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  2. I was interested to hear the Earth Band song – I like their 1960s singles but I only know ‘Blinded By The Light’ from the 1970s. That track was pretty cool – much proggier than I expected.

    It’s cool you got to see Weather Report so many times too.


    1. Solar Fire is a pretty good album. They even do a Dylan song. It was a real shift for them thematically. But prog and fusion had some overlapping periods. We were big Weather Report fans. I have a vivid memory of one of those shows being in a college gym or auditorium. Those were the days.

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      1. Yeah, I saw that it opened with a song from Dylan’s New Morning – another album you enjoy, if I’m remembering correctly?

        My friend got me into Weather Report – I enjoy Zawinul and Pastorius especially.


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